“He’s in the frozen foods aisle,” the manager told Elizabeth. “If you can’t get him out, I’m calling the police.”
Elizabeth understood. How dare Thomas pull such a stunt the opening night of her play. If anything, going to jail would be a mercy for him compared to her thoughts on a proper punishment. She looked at her phone. An hour until her play began, which meant thirty minutes to grab Thomas. She turned to the frozen food aisle, hoping he wasn’t drunk.
He was drunk. Thomas was whispering to Yorick, giggling at intervals, all the while trying to scratch himself though his Hamlet costume. The skull was stained with wine. She shouted, “Thomas!” He ignored her. She approached him and shouted again, “Thomas!”
He looked at her and said in a sing-song voice, “Hello dear, grocery shopping?”
“If you don’t come with me right this second, your new role will be as Yorick’s replacement.”
Thomas held the skull to his ear, then said, “I agree buddy, she is a bitch.”
Elizabeth was ready to go all out, drag him across the floor to her car if she had to. Then she remembered her calming exercise. She took a deep breath and clenched her fists, holding herself like that for three seconds before releasing. She repeated this three times, until she could look at the mess called Thomas and say normally, “Listen, I don’t know why you’re here instead of at the play, but maybe I could help you. Do you have stage fright? Is that why you did this?”
Thomas stared at Elizabeth, as though she had spoken in riddles. Before she could repeat herself, he said, “Yeah, sure.”
Elizabeth’s shoulders, which she hadn’t first noticed were so tense, relaxed. She felt she was getting somewhere. “You’ve performed before, what’s different this time?”
He steadied himself against the glass and took a few steps backwards. “It’s always been there, but now I can’t handle it anymore. It hurts.”
“Can you make it just this night? I know you’re drunk, I know you’re scared, but my play needs you,” Elizabeth attempted.
“My play this. My play that. It’s all you care about, even now,” he said, clumsily throwing Yorick. The skull clattered across the floor, red droplets spilling out and landing on Elizabeth’s feet.
Elizabeth was ready to scream, but someone tapped her shoulder, a shopping woman. Elizabeth politely moved out of the way, allowing the woman access to the pizzas. The opened door moved the skull and Yorick clattered again, but this time Elizabeth picked the skull up. She was repulsed by the damp layer of wine still soaking in it. A reminder of Thomas’s poor decisions, or maybe her own. When the shopping woman was gone, Elizabeth said, “I have been working on this play for six months. Casting, running rehearsals, dealing with everyone’s problems. I picked you as Hamlet because you asked me to as my boyfriend, but you’re too afraid to go on stage! If you were so afraid, why did you ask?”
Thomas rubbed his forehead, lazily drawing his gaze over the aisle as though Elizabeth wasn’t there. After a false start of coughing, he managed to say, “I asked because of you. Because you couldn’t find anyone else. Because I thought I could do it. Because I love you. God Elizabeth, I love you. But I can’t stand you, when you’re like this.”
When he said he loved her, Elizabeth felt guilty. When he said he couldn’t stand her, she had to do her calming exercise. She wished her tensed grip was strong enough to pulverize the skull. That would have felt best. “What do you mean, when I’m like this? You’re the one who’s drunk, who’s ruining my play. I have every right to be angry.”
“That’s what you’re like, every time I mess up. Even the smallest parts, a messy line, gives you ‘the right’ to be angry. It hurts.” Thomas turned and rested his forehead against the chilled glass.
Elizabeth hadn’t noticed at first, but now she felt the full chill of the frozen aisle. How stupid she was, for not bringing a coat. Rubbing her goosebumps, she said, “You don’t have stage fright.”
“Yeah. I have you fright.”
Elizabeth dropped Yorick. She went to Thomas and guided his head to her shoulder. She whispered to him, “I’m sorry.”
He tried to push her away, but instead fell down. Seemingly uncaring, he said, “Are you?”
“Yes. Thomas, I love you too. I know I can get really angry, but I’m working on it. I’m working on it so hard, because I want to be a better person.”
Thomas tried a few times to stand, eventually succeeding. “You don’t care what I think because you love me. You care what I think because you want to tell yourself you’re okay. You’re using my forgiveness as your improvement.”
Elizabeth didn’t do her breathing exercises this time. Instead, she turned and kicked the stupid skull as hard as she could. It crashed into the side of a ground freezer, the force causing the jaw to unhinge and the back of the skull to split. She had done it, killed Yorick, but it didn’t feel best. It didn’t even feel good.
“Angry again,” Thomas said.
Elizabeth stomped around back to him. “Fine, you’re right, I’m mad. I’m mad all the time, and I’m trying to tell myself it’s not that bad because you still love me. I shouldn’t do it, use you like that, because then I only get madder. Don’t forgive me, even if I get better, so I don’t go back. Just let me mad right now. Not at you, but at me, for hurting you.”
Thomas gave her the riddle-speaking stare again, but then he laughed. By this point, half the store was watching them from a very safe distance. The manager was on his phone, no doubt warning the police about the crazy couple and urging them to show up as quickly as possible. Thomas’s laugh dialed down into his earlier giggles. He eventually said, “That’s what I love about you, you’re no-nonsense.”
She kissed him. The smell and taste was horrible, but she still wanted to and he still deserved it. She said after, “Let’s go. You need water and sleep.”
“But dear, I just started drinking.”
She supported him out the store, giving the manager a mean look when he tried to stop them. The manager politely moved out the way. In the parking lot, Elizabeth poured Thomas into her car and ensured he was buckled before herself getting in. She ignored her phone ringing as she pulled out of the parking lot. Soon, they would be back safe at her home. No, their home.
|# ? Dec 21, 2015 02:47|
|# ? Nov 20, 2018 17:28|
Mouse and Muffin Have Fun All Day With Dicks Brawl
Pocketing the proceeds
No mercy. He had stolen from me, made gobs of money from the sweat of my brow, and now, at last, he had practically admitted it. Swearing to myself that he would not leave until I’d had a piece of him, I gave the fucker both barrels.
“I’m sorry,” I said, without an ounce of apology polluting my voice. “You are aware, aren’t you, that you have just confessed to plagiarism.”
The literature festival audience, already sodden after too many between-panel wines, wakened just enough to hold its collective breath.
“I have,” said Timothy, simply and in a quiet voice. “Your work is depressingly easy to identify, from its tired themes and its lacklustre characters. I meant what I said, and I will stand by it. I stole structures, plots, descriptions, and characters in whole cloth from your work, dressed them in barely-distinguishable clothes, and claimed them as my own.”
I gave the audience as arch a look as I could possibly muster. “Are you saying that you, with malice and forethought, deliberately plagiarised my tired themes and lacklustre characters? I’m simultaneously flattered and looking forward to the payout from the enormous civil claim I am about to bring to bear.” I turned to the audience. “Any lawyers here not currently billing enough?”
“It needed to be done,” said Timothy.
“Oh, did it?”
Timothy stood up behind the panel table. “It did! What was once a genre of ideas has become nothing but the endless re-heatings of last century's leftovers, suffocating in the shrinking midlist. I tried to address this in my own work, but remained ignored until I hit upon the plan of deliberately stealing from Mr Rattigan’s endless, dreary body of shite that...”
I had heard enough. I pounded my fist on the table. “Please! Have a little self-respect. You’re embarrassing yourself.”
“Erm, yes,” said the convenor of the panel, a nebbish editor from Puffalo brought in at the last minute. “Do please try to behave. All of you.”
Timothy pretended nobody had spoken. “...Endless, dreary body of shite that should be pulped, en masse, and gifted as toilet paper in the nations of the third world. And like rubbing the genie, ripping off your crap has allowed me a measure of wealth, fame and a far greater audience from which to launch my challenge upon those tedium-clad bastions where Mr Rattigan dwells.”
I looked at the convenor in exasperation. He looked at me, then at Timothy, and then at the audience who, I must admit, seemed far more interested in the proceedings than at any panel I’ve attended that didn’t have something to do with television.
The convenor, cowardly lickspittle that he was, said, “It seems you have something to say. And what is the purpose of the Hayton-On-Lassics festival, but to hear the words, thoughts, and occasionally diatribes of the authorial profession?”
“Thank you,” said Timothy. He gave a little cough. “I believe the time has come for a new honesty in our beloved genre. A new truth. We must free our words, go far beyond what Mr Rattigan has ever dared to achieve. We must break through. Take the bull by the horns and say ‘You’re full of bullshit, and I’ve got bigger horns than you.’” His voice, which had ramped up to near shouting, suddenly quietened. “In the spirit of this departure from the inexorably crapulent - I hereby offer to Mr Rattigan all royalties and proceeds, now and in the future, from my obscenely derivative trilogy ‘Monk In Darkness’, if he will, right here and right now, join me in flopping out our penises so we can see, once and for all, whose is bigger.”
“Oh, for gently caress’s sake,” I said, as the room erupted...well, exhaled... in shocked, intrigued, gasps. “This is some kind of stunt.”
“Desperately dreary times call for desperate measures,” said Timothy.
“This can’t be legal,” I said, shaking my head in disbelief. “Public nuisance, indecent exposure, conduct unbecoming of abso-loving-lutely anybody with half a brain.”
“Not at all,” said Timothy, grinning like an insufferably smug, plagiarising idiot. “The festival is a private event, with a restricted entry owing to adult themes and alcohol on premises. No laws will be broken. Anyone in the audience of a sensitive disposition is hereby warned that, assuming Mr Rattigan is brave enough to accept the challenge, that penises are in their immediate future. They are welcome to leave.”
Nobody moved a muscle.
This was all going terribly wrong. I had just got him to admit his criminal wrongdoing, he should be being booed and hissed from the stage like a pantomime villain, yet somehow this had become about my bravery? “But...this will prove nothing. Nobody wins this pissing contest. You’re still a plagiarist - a filthy loving plagiarist.”
“Language,” said Timothy. “We are all adults here. My challenge stands. I have here all the necessary documentation - which, I note, states the current value of the property in question at near a million pounds. All yours - and bear in mind, this is not a competition, Like kindergarten, everyone who competes, wins.” He slammed a small sheaf of papers down on the table in front of me.
For once I was speechless. I knew he’d done well with his monkish twaddle, but...that was a lot of money for a middle-aged cranker-outer of potboilers hanging desperately onto the mid-list with well-chewed fingernails. And taking him to court - that wasn’t a sure-fire thing, despite his confession. He could hire actual lawyers. I could barely pay a parking ticket. And come to think of it, no one had ever accused me of being a slouch in the trouser department. I looked at the papers - they bore the FreshFields imprimatur of expensive legal advice.
“Ah...what the hell,” I said to the audience. “You’re all witnesses. I reserve my right to later litigate, but for now… who’s got a ruler?”
We tossed a coin to determine who went second. I lost. I thought about Mrs Bentley, my English Grammar teacher, who had always been my go-to-girl for a quick response. A ruler was found somewhere, and after some dickering as to where the ruler should be placed (thigh or testicles - thigh won), I came in at a seven inches and a not unmentionable quarter.
Timothy took his turn at the table, walking for all the world like he had a hammer swinging between his legs. He unzipped his fly, and pulled out his penis. The head emerged, shyly at first but then kept coming. Like a poisonous snake emerging from the grass, his length extended and extended - semi-erect, as if filling completely with blood would deprive his larcenous brain of necessary fluids. I stopped looking by the time the ruler read ten full inches, but by the expression on the faces around me there was still more to come.
“It is done!” screamed Timothy, one hand gripping his phallus beneath its helmet, the other whipping the air like a pornographic cowboy. With his free hand he grabbed the ruler, one of those steel ones that nuns are inordinately fond of rapping knuckles with, and slammed it down on his gigantic prick, perpendicular to his protrusion, slicing right through and severing himself. Blood spurted out across the table in a pulsing jet. He screamed an agonised scream, grabbed his at his crotch, ran off the stage and up the central aisle, still screaming and dripping vast, bloody gobbets as he went out the auditorium’s double doors.
Everybody watched him go. The doors swung shut behind him. Everybody turned toward me. Nobody spoke.
Awkwardly, I looked down to the several inches of circumcised penis lying on the table, its one eye gazing outward as if searching for its departed owner. It was oddly grey and covered in splotches of red. Weirdly thick splotches, I noticed. On an impulse, I reached out and touched one - it had a surprising viscosity. The audience watched horrified as I put a dab on my tongue and tasted, not the bitter iron of writer’s blood, but goddamned tomato sauce! I grabbed the severed dick. Prosthetic rubber. That bastard! That lying, thieving, scum-sucking, clever-arsed, profile-lifting, brilliant, loving bastard.
I needed a drink, and my agent. Timothy had just guaranteed his own immortality, as a performance artist if not a writer, but played correctly this whole shebang could be the best thing that ever happened to my career. Without a word, I grabbed the papers, put Timothy’s dick in my pocket and left the auditorium.
|# ? Dec 21, 2015 03:40|
Labels and Liars
Everything in Paradox was slightly off-kilter. The sidewalks were just too narrow, the ceilings just too short, but for the visitors and residents of the small Washington township, the slant-of-it-all was fundamental, woven into the fabric of the flags and the bedsheets and the tablecloths. Paradoxical charm, they called it.
Carter Beauchard could trace his lineage back to the settlement of Paradox. It was his great great grandfather, Francois Beauchard, who opened the town’s first bank and began the tradition of wearing a friendly nametag everywhere, which soon caught on with the rest of the citizens. Francois’ son, Georgie, added his own stamp to the tradition by inscribing his profession in big block letters under his name on his tag: MAYOR.
It only made sense that Carter would follow in their footsteps.
Now he was sliding that same nametag across a sticky table, lost on a pair of pocket kings. On the other side of the filth, Knotts Ullrich, with his chopt and splintered hands, pulled it in and pinned the tag to his dirty t-shirt.
Carter could feel himself sweating through his oxford. He tried to remember how this had happened, but through the haze of the beer and bar music, the details were lost.
He had called in to his wife, Julia, after speaking at the Cleaning Up Paradox Forum. There had been a heated exchange between he and some other citizens about transients in the city, and the growing number of criminal citizens. The city was too soft, and angry, vocal, minority insisted. Carter took a tongue lashing, and although he typically didn’t drink, a single-malt was in order.
Knotts was there with his old crew of bullies and blowhards, all of them boisterous and proud for no real reason as Carter saw it. They were playing cards when he stumbled upon them. Words were exchanged. Wagers were made.
“First time losing in your life, ain’t it?” Knotts asked.
“Yeah, well, enjoy your make-believe,” Carter said with his practiced smile, “I’ll meet you back here in a week to collect it back.”
Knotts leaned against the table as he scribbled on his nametag, crossing out his name and profession before tossing it across:
“That's for you.” Knotts said.
Knotts marched into the victorious evening as Carter slid the tag in his pocket, and, after some time, he too slinked off into the uneasy night, eventually into his own bed.
Carter was up and out the door before Julia awoke. The evening had been unkind, and Carter found himself rolling back and forth in a desperate search for his comfortable groove in the old mattress. When it was clear that rest was beyond him, Carter hoped that productivity wasn’t.
As Carter turned the key in his office door, the knob began to spin from the other side and slowly pull open. For a moment, Carter thought he was looking into a mirror. Dressed in simple khakis, a sky blue button down, and wingtips, Knotts stood vigilant, with a nearly-omniscient posture and a scowl hanging from his ginger eyebrows.
“Beauchard, what are you doing in my office?” Knotts asked.
“Your office?” Carter asked.
Knotts didn’t need to say a word; he simply tapped at the badge pinned over his heart:
“My badge, my office, my rules,” Knotts said with a smirk revealing a row of slightly crooked teeth. Carter clenched his fist tight enough for his mysteriously dirty fingernails to cut into his palm. “Anyway,” Knotts continued, the lumberyard is at least a forty minute drive from here. You should get moving. I need to speak with my assistant anyway,”
Deep down, Carter knew that Knotts was right, and something compelled him to turn away.
“Tess,” he heard Knotts page into a different room, “schedule a meeting of my Clean Paradox Forum.”
“Yes, sir,” she said.
The man behind the desk was pissed.
“Beauchard,” he shouted between heaving drags of an unfiltered cigarette, “what the hell are you doing here? I fired your rear end yesterday!”
“Mr. Neville, sir,” Carter began, not pausing to wonder how that name came to him, “I’m sorry. If I could just have another cha-”
“You can have five seconds to get out of here before I call the police!” the man said before slamming his palm to the laminate desk. “And clean out your locker this time. I don’t want you sniffing around here anymore.”
Carter sifted through the box of his belongings as he sat in his truck: a hip flask, family photos, a small multi-tool and pocket knife, all oddly familiar. Muscle memory kicked in, and he slipped the knife into his pocket. Carter couldn’t return home this early in the day without raising suspicions with Julia, so Carter decided to return to the bar and take in its comfortable warmth.
He had to walk home.
Carter had thought himself a lightweight, but when he was four beers deep and still feeling the shame of being chewed out by his boss, he began to order drinks by the double. Eight may have been too many. Having to walk was a blessing anyway, because if coming home early would raise red flags with Julia, coming home drunk would sound the alarms.
Carter was forced to ring the bell when it appeared that he had lost his key. Julia would be upset at being woken, but Carter knew she would understand. The foyer light blinked on. The door opened.
“You again?” Knotts asked while standing in a bathrobe that Carter could swear once belonged to him.
It took all the strength that Carter had in his workman’s arms and chest to form words instead of fists. “Get out,” he said, “take off my clothes and get out.”
Knotts was ready to reply when a voice from the inside cut him off.
“Everything okay honey?” a sweet, familiar voice called.
He could almost see inside the house, trying to remember if the master suite was to the left or the right of the top of the stairs. Carter wanted to call out to her, but her name was lost somewhere.
“Don’t worry, love.” Knotts assured. “It’s just a man who needs to call a ride home. I’ll be up in a moment; keep the bed warm.”
The heat was too much for Carter to handle. The embarrassment. The rage. The foolish, fleeting, fantasy of sleeping with the mayor’s wife in the mayor’s bed. The high life. He was drunk, and angry at a life that had been stacked against him since back when daddy used to slam him against the flimsy walls of his mobile home for bringing home D’s in math and English.
Carter wasn’t thinking when he plunged the knife into Knotts’ ribs. Neither was Julia when she came storming down the stairs with the pistol from under the bed. She shot to kill the man who’d stabbed her husband, but her aim was terrible. She did, however, send him to the hospital, and if there was one bit of good to come from the night, it was that Paradox would finally get tough on crime.
Mr. Beauchard would attest to that.
|# ? Dec 21, 2015 03:51|
Every Rising Tide
Florida Flood Water Could be Filled with Tigers
Grizzled Patriarch fucked around with this message at Dec 30, 2015 around 16:52
|# ? Dec 21, 2015 04:21|
The Proper Care and Feeding of Your Bobcat
Florida Man Nearly Mauled After Opening Trunk, Finding Unconscious Bobcat Has Woken Up
Tyler drove through the mountains, alone. He listened to the steady, humming purr of his old car, the broken radio leaving him alone with his thoughts. Faraway concepts such as climate change mingled with overdue bills and a breakup.
Nestled within the car’s cushioned front compartment, Robert the bobcat had no such thoughts, as far as Tyler knew. He took care of the animal, and it did - whatever it did, in return. Some people used dogs, others had horses. But his father had passed the great, older, spotted cat to him for his first car, and drat if he wasn’t going to hold to tradition - at least while his father was alive.
Man and cat both exclaimed as the car passed over a deep pothole. The purring ceased, and the car sputtered to a stop. Flipping open the hood revealed a poor cat, still breathing but unconscious.
The cat slowly came to, confused. Robert mrowled, before throwing himself forward, claws out, right at Tyler’s face. Tyler stumbled out of the way at the last moment, powerless to watch his cat vanish into the woods.
Tyler panted, hands on his knees, trying to catch his breath. The bobcat was nowhere to be found and the sun had begun its journey. Convinced he was lost and on the verge of just walking back to the last time for help, a pleasant humming sound caught his attention.
Rounding the corner, Tyler caught sight of a quaint little home settled in a clearing in the forest. Plants, topiaries and flowers of various sorts surrounded the home. A man wielding shears and wearing a sunflower hat hummed as he tended to the garden in the fading sunlight.
“Hello. Is this your cat? He’s a friendly little guy. Aren’t you? Yes you are.” The stranger laughed and scratched behind Robert’s ears, carefully avoiding the bump on the spotted cat’s head. “Name’s Greg, by the way.”
“Uh. Sorry. Yeah… I hope he wasn’t a bother?”
“Oh, please. Sure, he was a little cranky, but a nice meal warmed him right up. Looks like he took a nasty bump on the head. You look exhausted. If you give me a minute to wash up, would you like to come in for supper?”
Tyler left the house in the woods two days later, cat lazily pacing at his side and a hum on his lips. For the first time in a long while, the concerns of the world didn’t seem so heavy on Tyler’s shoulders. Following Greg’s instructions, the wandering trip that took two hours was only thirty minutes on the return.
The act of kindness stayed with him for the rest of the week at his desk job. Even the usual bragging of his boss about his new, horse powered car - despite being bought months previous - didn’t seem to bother him. Tyler decided he simply had to pay Greg another visit. With a gift basket full of gardening goodies and Robert corralled into the car once more, Tyler set off for the mountains.
For his efforts, he received another bumbling adventure in the woods. In an attempt to recreate their first meeting, Tyler backed out and took the pothole on once more - only to find Robert dozing peacefully. Only then did he remember that Greg convinced him to re-fit the padding in the cat’s compartment.
Sitting by the road and stewing in quiet despair - his expectations dashed, he almost missed the spotted cat stirring and stretching his legs before jumping from the car. The two shared a moment, looking at one another.
“Go on, you stupid cat.”
“Go on! Lead me!”
Tyler rose to his feet as the bobcat’s tail swished slowly. His fists balled at his side as he spoke.
“Look. I’m. Sorry about this, okay? I promise I’ll make it up to you, especially if this doesn’t work, but…”
Tyler looked down at the cat - and swung his leg forward as hard as he could, sending it flying with a yowl. Robert landed unevenly along some roots and stumbled, before running off into the woods. Tyler gathered up his gifts and hurriedly gave chase.
It was night by the time Tyler and Greg sat together at the table in his cottage, enjoying a meal. Robert sat in a corner, curled up in a cat bed much too small - and watched Tyler warily.
“Thank you so much for the gifts, Ty!” Greg said over his soup, perfect for the winter growing ever closer. “I’ll get these planted, right away. I’m afraid it’s my turn to ask… I hope the trip here wasn’t much trouble? My directions should still be good, but it’s been a while since I’ve really left my little home.”
Tyler withered under the combined weight of Greg’s question and the bobcat’s gaze. Honesty was supposed to be the best policy. But how could he admit the truth to those kind, caring, sweet eyes? Tyler grabbed his glass and took a long drink, granting himself a moment to think.
“They were. Fine. Um.”
Better to head things off at the pass.
“I’m not sure what happened to Bobby.” Had he ever called his cat that? “But once I realized he was walking a little funny, well… I just had to see you.”
The next moment took what felt like forever to Tyler - but thankfully, Greg eventually nodded. And smiled.
“I’m glad you thought of me! Don’t worry. With a bit of rest and T-L-C, he’ll be good as new! Just a bit of a strain.”
That smile was so sweet and so charming, Tyler almost melted on the spot. And…
“Would you care to help me with the garden? I have so much left to do tonight…”
And so it continued. No matter how many times Greg provided his directions, Tyler lost or forgot them. Really, Robert was already quite old, and wasn’t he providing the old bobcat a life of luxury, beyond the occasional moment of pain every few days?
“Isn’t it worth it?” Tyler whispered down to the cat as he opened his hood once more. His care barely ran, but at least within the cushioned confines, Robert was safe.But when the hood opened, the wounded bobcat needed no incentive - tumbling from the car as duo made their way to Greg’s house once more.
“You’re a lunatic. I can’t believe I didn’t see it sooner...”
Flowers sat discarded in the trash can - an exotic bunch, from some far off land. The table where so many dinners, so many late brunches and discussions sat shattered, with Tyler sitting in its remains.
“And who’s the one that lives out in the middle of loving nowhere? Which of us is unreachable by anything but - but carrier pigeons? Which of us doesn’t want to make this serious?”
Tyler attempted to reach for Greg and Bob, but the old cat hissed at his previous owner. Throwing his hands up in defeat, Tyler wiped his tears as he listened to Greg’s words of assurance to the cat, and saw himself out. It was going to be a long, long walk home alone, in silence - and without Robert.
|# ? Dec 21, 2015 04:52|
Moist Cotton Hands(997 words)
It was time.
After a quick check to ensure nobody was in the Dickersons’ yard, Nathan pulled the fence boards away from the top rail of the fence between their yard and his. He’d pried the nails halfway out earlier - the day after he’d met his new neighbors for the first time.
Flashy bastards. It was like they didn’t think he could see through all their false modesty - when he’d shook Mr. Dickerson’s hand, Nathan had glimpsed the gold glimmer of a wristwatch from beneath the man’s suit sleeve, along with the dull gleam of pearls around his wife’s neck. Not to mention those fancy cellphones their children had been playing around with.
Obviously, they were wealthy as sin. Leveling the playing field between the two of them wouldn’t hurt, and was more than justified.
Nathan snuck through the hole he’d exposed and made his way to their back door. Right before his fingers brushed the smooth metal of the doorknob, he was struck by paranoia - there was a reason he covered his windows up with tinfoil, after all. What if they checked for fingerprints?
He looked back at the gap in the fence, and considered going back for gloves. But then he’d have to dig through his closet for a pair, and he wasn’t even sure if he had any. Another moment’s thought, and then an idea came to him. Nathan bent over, and after a couple seconds of fumbling and hopping around on one foot, he reached out for the doorknob in front of him again - but this time, with a slightly moist sock covering his hands.
A twist of the wrist, and he was in. This was obviously a playroom - wooden boxes lined the room, and he could spy one or two blocks of lego lying by the corners. The really good stuff should be ahead.
Nathan wasn’t dumb - that’s what he liked to tell himself, anyways. The longer he stayed here, the more of a chance he might be caught. But getting something worth all his time and his effort wouldn’t be hard. He grinned, excitement beginning to burn in his veins. It’d probably be a choice between the silver candlesticks and the fine china.
But when he burst into the next room - obviously the kitchen - all he saw were bog-standard china and utensils. When he pulled one of the plates off the drying rack and examined it, he realized it was exactly like the ones he owned. He put it back, ignoring the smudge of dirt his socks left behind.
Nathan shook his head and moved into the next room. A large television covered one of the walls, but he didn’t think he’d be able to carry that through the gap in the fence. Looking around didn’t reveal anything special, either - just stacks of DVDs and CDs. He couldn’t even see any gadgets like those brats had been playing with.
The excitement from earlier was souring. Nathan stomped up the stairs, and slammed open the first door he saw. He looked around - a printer on a desk, stacks of papers on said desk, and very little else of interest. The only other thing that stood out was a half-empty bottle of Gatorade. He glared at it.
Maybe he could take a printer. But that felt so ordinary. Surely there was something else. After a moment of thinking, he walked around and checked underneath the desk.
It took a while for his eyes to adjust to the darkness, but when they did, he sucked in a deep breath. A safe! And it wasn’t fastened to anything! This would work - he probably had something in the garage that would break the thing open.
He reached out, hands trembling - and then promptly bashed his head against the underside of the desk at the sound of banging from the front door. He scrambled upright and stared out the open door of the study.
“Police! Open up!” More banging.
Nathan’s palms began to sweat. Could he get out of here without being detected? He glanced at the window behind him, and looked out and down out of it. There was a single dark-suited officer below. He jerked back, and pulled at his hair. What the hell was he going to do?
“Last warning! Please open the door!” Nathan ran out from behind the desk and to the door of the study, but right before his foot touched the first step down, a sickening crunch came from the front door. He stared, trembling. There was no way he was going to get back to his house. He was definitely going to be found here, where he didn’t belong.
So his only option was to pretend like he did belong here. He scuttled back into the study, and looked around. Maybe he could pretend the Dickensons hired him for paperwork? But if they asked him anything technical about the documents, he was screwed. Then his eyes fell on the Gatorade bottle.
He hesitated, but the sound of the Dickenson’s front door finally giving way beneath the officers’ boots propelled him into snatching it up, and hastily twisting off the cap. He took a frantic gulp as footsteps pounded up the stairs, spilling Mango Extremo all over the front of his shirt.
“Hands up!” He turned, and saw very shiny, very deadly firearms being pointed at him.
He very slowly raised his hands, doing his best to upend the drink all over himself.
He stared at them. They stared back, until someone forced their way through the crowd of uniforms.
“Mr. Grayson!” With a sinking feeling, Nathan looked into the eyes of Mrs. Dickenson. “What are you doing here?”
“You invited me over for Gatorade, remember?” He tried his most winning smile.
“No. I don’t.” Mrs. Dickenson’s shock twisted into rage. “Take this man away!”
In the ensuing scramble, Mango Extreme managed to find its way all over his pants.
It was a very soggy ride to the police station.
|# ? Dec 21, 2015 05:01|
Submissions are now closed
The judges have taken their bath salts and readied their katanas
|# ? Dec 21, 2015 05:29|
Pilgrimage Week Crits
Why did so few of you have endings?
Kaishai even specified it in her prompt! We should have DMd the lot of you.
An ending is not "when you get tired of writing," there needs to be a resolution, a reason to feel that the story has concluded and questions have been answered. Maybe try writing a story with the ending already in mind, if this is a consistent problem for you GrizzledPatriarch.
Beyond that, the worst that could be said about Pilgrimage week is that it was boring. Which isn't good. But better than being terrible, even if less fun to discuss in judgechat.
I started writing crits as I read and then had to go do other things and finish judging on my phone, so that dropped by the wayside. Deal w/ it.
ZeBourgeoisie - Madison
The winds died down, and the oak toppled to the ground. - Seems like the oak would topple during the winds, not, as this phrasing indicates, after.
back at the fully erect oak. - lol. IRC ruining my sense of humor aside, it's odd phrasing. Just "at the oak" or "back at the upright oak" would sound less unfortunate.
“Dammit,” she said. - This completely breaks the storybook tone you've had so far and not even in a way that feels intentionally humorous. The story to this point is cute and like something I'd give to a child, then this. Keep your tone in mind and stick to it.
Eight dark pits - Since when were spider eyes pits?
With outstanding speed, - Pointless description that slows down the action.
the same way he cradled his wife. - he had
next to her’s - <>
Decent, but not outstanding. The tone shift from cute beetle losing her home to willfully accepting being murdered is baffling. The point where she asked the spider to stroke back her antennae is the point where, in most stories, the protagonist would have some plan to escape. But she just resigns herself. It's a "life sucks, then it ends" story, with a protag with no agency as she is literally dragged and blown around, wrapped up in an adorable initially-kid-friendly premise and idgi.
I can say this first section has me intrigued, let's see if it holds up.
The story wasn’t open yet. - Proofreading
susurration is a strange word to throw out there, for this character's voice.
Well, I would read the rest of the story you started to write here. So get back to me if you continue it. But it is in absolutely no way a story on its own, more like a first chapter. It's written well enough that I don't want to DM it, but impossible to judge since it just ends and leaves me wondering where chapter 2 went.
or, the last man alive (stop putting the wordcount in spoilers at the bottom jesus why)
Adam was the only living things -
MEG added “It’s a goodie.” - commas before and after dialogue tags
Something something Daisy Bell.” said MEG. - Muffiiiiiiin
Protagonist cycled between emotions too quickly here, with more telling than showing the transitions. Seemed like you were up against the wordcount to try to make it natural, but you still had 50 words, so hard to say. This felt up against the wordcount in general; the exposition wasn't outrageous, but could have been handled more smoothly with more words. It was still enjoyable, and another story that I'd like to read more of if it was ever continued. If only to know whether this planet was the one or if he just gets his hopes crushed again (which would suck, narratively, after that scene, but even so, how is he supposed to actually get humanity grown and settled...?). So much conflict introduced, so little wordcount.
my effigy burns: Geburtsag
Not going to read this one now, but no you will not be forgiven for going over, the wordcount is a wordcount for a reason and you went over by just short of 300 words. You won't respect the rules and our time, I won't respect yours. Nice try hiding your wordcount at the end of the post, too. Going to suspect everyone who does that of tricking me into reading an overlong story from now on.
Also capitalize country names.
Fumblemouse: Forest Flower
fast becoming exhausted.. -
"impromptu midwife" breaks the narrative voice a little.
There's a slight niggling disconnect in the dramatic beat of the breaking of the vow, and the results. He was accidentally sort of right, but the wife died anyway, but his child survived, so was he getting punished by his wife's death, or did she take the punishment, or is the point that the vow had nothing to do with anything? That lack of clarity weakens the rather cliche ending.
Still, it's solid and an enjoyable read and you maintain the fable-style tone. That problem only stands out because of the emphasis given to the vow previously, and the wife dying as punishment to Satman for the lie feels rather backhanded, if that was the point.
Naming the title after the child when the child was a footnote is also an odd choice.
High pile, HM or win?
Sixto Lezcano: Ontonagon Route 28
It was fun.”,
“I’ll drive, even.”.
what are these crimes against man and nature
Rampant grammar abuse aside, I am glad this didn't turn into a story about "the time my idiot brother crashed the car into a lake and nearly killed us both" like the start's emphasis on bad weather and questionable reliance on caffeine led me to expect. Not even being sarcastic about that. It was an amusing snapshot of two brothers, that didn't dive into navel-gazing or tragedy, but not much of a story. Not a bad read, but not standout.
Lazy Beggar: Saudade
Your grammar is atrocious, but I'd rather focus on the main problem here: The common advice is "show, don't tell." Your entire premise revolved around telling everything and showing nothing, and it was as exciting as reading a textbook. To top it off, you thought of or read that last line and then sat there all week trying to figure out how to make it literal, didn't you? The entire thing was just a lead-in to the ending, making it a long joke with a dumb punchline where nothing mattered.
Low pile, DM or loss.
newtestleper: Sea Serpents
that sped away from them into the evening, back towards - ...towards...? proofread dammit
You have some good description, of the dancers and the ocean, but...what's the point? Girl meets boy, girl meets other boy, first boy storms off and leaves girl with other boy, the end? The relationships aren't established, Tom lets her go way too easily for having known her longer and having the emphasis on him earlier, and there's no reason to think that Tipene is anything more than a friend - or why they couldn't both just be friends with him, since the jealousy comes on suddenly and then leads to nothing.
Grizzled Patriarch: On the Hearth a Little Flower Blooms
Very pretty prose, and definitely tweaks the heartstrings, but there doesn't seem to be a running thread other than "war is hell," which is very well-trodden ground at this point. The ending doesn't bring anything to a resolution. Vignettes about the atrocities of war don't a story make, so although it was pretty and I liked the scene with the songbook, it fell flat aside from a couple nice moments. It also didn't have an ending.
Thranguy: Knee Deep in the Hoopla
Your conflict here, and thus your story, was about the value of honesty, and not claiming another's work as your own. In 1190 words, two paragraphs and a few lines of dialogue were actually devoted to that conflict. It was brushed off so you could explore your concept. Which, granted, is a cool concept, but you spent too much time on worldbuilding, and Lani was a completely irrelevant character that took up too much of your wordcount. It doesn't matter whether she was a pianist or a drummer, because it has no impact on the story. The only ones that mattered were the protag and Kass, and Kass got shuffled offscreen to some vague fate. The protag didn't seem to even care that Kass knew that rare special song that supposedly meant so much to him, which...makes no sense.
Your homework (which you'll never do): Rewrite this with the focus on the actual story, as I described it above, with no exposition and no irrelevant characters.
Broenheim: The Last Story We Have Together
For the most part, I like this, although I see you didn't listen when I said to display the narrator talking to someone as just showing his responses, no ellipses needed. Each one was a visual bump in the road.
There are questions, though. I assume it's a rule of the world that people with this ability lose the stories they tell, but that's a strange thing - why not write them down instead, or tell them back to each other? It's also not clear why the narrator threw the rock away. I can guess that it's because she was young and petty and didn't like what she was hearing, and now wants to prevent her pupil from making the same mistake, but I can't be sure.
What little you show here is a very interesting world and makes me wonder more about it, just enough hints to be intriguing. The rules need some ironing out. There also isn't much of an actual conflict, which seems to be a recurring theme this week.
C7ty1: Dormant Faith
This is confusing. She's nervous and hesitant at the first trial, but it turns out to be completely harmless, and by her interactions with Theo she apparently knows this. Then the next trial is genuinely dangerous, yet the ones following get increasingly sillier to the point of almost comedy, but the tone isn't quite right. At the end, does she rebuild the shrine as a show of having faith in a god rendered silent anyway, or does she make a cairn as a casket for a dead god and discover atheism and with it, peace (as Kaishai put it)?
There are aspects I like, but they're shoved together in a jumbled mess that doesn't know what it wants to do with itself.
Claven666: The Bargain
A story with interesting imagery and an intriguing premise, but too much is left unclear for it to stand up after much thought. Why did the protagonist summon the Pilgrim? What does the Pilgrim get out of this bargain that makes it simply shrug and leave when the protag realizes he was in a catch-22?
I can guess at themes of pride, or "be careful what you wish for," but those guesses are from common tropes of this story setup more than what's actually there. This is one case where I am genuinely interested in an explanation of what you were going for to see which of our guesses was closest.
Sitting Here: Flotsamson
He shoves a long, waterlogged plank away with his ore. - sigh
This is definitely promising, but has a few too many ideas to comfortably fit into the wordcount. Anuun's perspective and character slide out of the picture by the last section, and you'd think that he would have more of a reaction to his promised wife appearing. Sedna also felt too important early on to never appear or get mentioned again. Sveinn's perspective has some nice words and foreshadows the end, but with such a limited space, you might have been better served sticking to Anuun.
This would benefit tremendously from a higher wordcount and I would love to see it expanded on at some point, but it was very claustrophobic for a flash piece.
I overall like the banter between John and the AI okay, but the details about the rat feel irrelevant and it's YET ANOTHER "everyone dies, the end" story with no resolution. Jesus, Thunderdome.
Kaishai pointed out that this is a third entry into a series of stories using the same characters. I might actually read the book that these are from (it feels like a novel setting), but none of them stand on their own at all, least of all this one. Man walks through desert talking to a robot, the end. Focus on writing a story that can be introduced and concluded within the wordcount, which doesn't need another story - or two - for context to make sense.
BoldFrankensteinMir: Hit the Bricks
RedTonic and I had to explain to Kaishai that the protagonist's sin wasn't breaking the millstone. But we didn't know what the sin actually was, so I understand her confusion.
That aside, we enjoyed this. You have solid themes here of guilt being a burden only until you're willing to put it down, and that the journey can mean as much as the destination - even if the destination isn't at all what you expected. One of the sadly few solid endings this week. Had this been grounded with a little more detail and a mention of the sin that made him abandon his family and walk all that way, it might have been a contender, but it was closer to the vignette side than a full story. Definitely worth a mention.
High pile, HM.
jon joe: Thrown
The judges were a little mixed on this, but not that much. We all saw what you were going for - finding meaning in small acts - but you didn't get into the protagonist's headspace enough, or didn't make the gestures fitting enough, to sell the tearful ending. We didn't see the emotional journey, so what we get is a person randomly crying over tea. We don't know why. Then it ends, and what was the point?
A vignette this steeped in an emotional journey needs a well-drawn character to show that journey. And, probably, more words.
crabrock: The Hackney Comet
Cute opening, but the protagonist as a kid didn't seem to relate to the careless guy who hosed himself over five ways in the later part. His casual attitude was more annoying than charming; why would anyone have sent this idiot on this mission, with valuable equipment? The premise falls apart with the slightest poke. At least it was readable and had some amusing lines.
|# ? Dec 21, 2015 06:02|
Thanks for the crits, Echo!
Also, I've read all the stories and all I can say is lol this week
|# ? Dec 21, 2015 06:13|
Marching to the beat of your own drum
“I was naked and filthy. Why the gently caress was I naked and filthy? I haven’t had anything to drink; my sister confiscated my flask telling me it was a ‘family event’. And my dealer didn’t pull through, that stinkyhole. So I had no clue at that point what the hell had happened between the time when I walked into my sister’s house to when I sat on a folding chair in my Sunday best.
“There was a sudden pressure in the base of my head that hit me like a coke bottle. I jerked my hand to it, but links went tight and my wrist was tugged back. The pain paralyzed me and I then high fived the table with my face. It didn’t hurt that much, you know I had half my skull redone with carbon fiber cause of a hunting incident.
“There was a sound; a metal door hissing open and it vaguely reminded me of those classic sci-fi movies I watch late night on TNT. The silhoutte of a man slid into my eye sight and I swear to baby Jesus it felt like the pain was coming from him.
“He set down a coffee mug on the table and hosed off somewhere where my eyes couldn’t follow. Not anything magical. Calm your tits, he stepped somewhere behind me. But this coffee cup. I can’t tell you what it was about it. It was plain white with some stains up by the lip, but I just laser focused on that thang. I was staring at that cup like it had grown a pair of titties. And then just like that, the pain was gone.
“Behind me, I heard the dude that came in earlier, talking in a bored tone; like he was reading some manual or something. I didn’t want to move and draw his attention. Maybe he thought I was asleep. It was a gut feeling, nothing more than that. He said in an pissed off voice, ‘Attempt number thirty seven unsuccessful. Smithy, overly confident in how ‘everything was going smoothly’ decided, against protocol, to elevate psionic power to subject. The run ended in desynchronization and subject tore his clothes off, jumped off the house roof, broke a television, emptied a vacuum cleaner and masturbated before our standby team could deescalate the situation.’”
“Hold on a fuckin’ second, Cormac,” Tommy said, his left eye squinting in a distrustful manner. “I was at yo’ niece’s birthday party an’ you never did none of those thangs.”
Cormac rolled his eyes. “Come on bubba, you’re acting like your sister when we watch a movie together for the first time,” he said. He imitated a high pitched speaking voice with a lilting southern accent. “Oooh wut’ gon’ happen next baby? Is he gon’ kill him?” he said, then returned to his normal voice. “Like if I know. If you waited a cotton pickin’ second, you’d find out. Shoot.
“Anyway, this dude walks around to where I can see him again and he’s talking into his dull, black metal arm; top of the line black ops poo poo, man. He says, ‘The standby team altered the memory of those present and contained the situation.’”
Tommy slapped a mosquito on his neck. “I heard them memory altering things cause cancer,” he said.
“gently caress’s sake, Tommy, stop interrupting,” Cormac prodded his brother-in-law on the shoulder. “It’s about to get good. See, this dude with the arm? He had his back turned toward me and the door’s still open. I’m thinking I need to make a run for it. I don’t know what these dudes are up to, but I’m not gonna stick around to find out. I’m out of there, lightning quick.”
“But you was still handcuffed to the got’drat table!” Tommy interrupted.
Annoyance flashed across Cormac’s face. “I know Tommy, I was getting to that. I got all twisted up and poo poo and hit the floor real hard. But when I looked up something didn’t add up. The chair I was sitting in was across the room and so was the coffee mug. I could have kicked the chair with all my flailing about, but that mug; Tommy, that table was bolted to the floor. Ain’t no way a skinny white boy like me could have sent that thing flying like that.
“The dude had stopped talking and was now staring straight at me, and I think I seen some fear in his eyes. I’m talking about the look in a man’s eyes when he pick up a hooker and when the skirt comes off, she’s got a pecker bigger than his. And she a cop!
“He ran toward the door in a dead sprint. Tommy, as little baby Jesus as my goddamn witness, I yelled out ‘Stop’, and this dude froze like he was a cartoon. I didnt just tell him to stop, but I pictured it in my mind’s eye as well. He didn’t stay frozen for long though. I heard the motors of his arms and legs working real hard and he was inching toward the door. I tried holding him back, but there was that pain in the back of my head starting up again. When he pushed himself outside, the wall slid shut behind him and I was alone again.”
“Naked?” Tommy asked with a grin on his face.
“Bubba, you retain the weirdest details, I ever tell you that? So yea, I’m in that cell and I ain’t stop thinking about getting out, only now I figure I got a weapon in my head that got these guys making GBS threads their pants cause they’re so scared of me. I’m still trying to think things out and eventually I see if I can use my noggin to pick the lock on the handcuffs. I busted that thing right open, hoowee!”
“Did you face down an army of them fuckers single handedly as you broke out of that there prison?” Tommy’s face lit up like fat kid being told he’s getting cake for lunch that day.
“poo poo no, you think I’m stupid? I’d probably been shot to poo poo trying to get out of there. Nah, I just pryed open the bars from the cell window and crawled out.
Tommy grunted in understanding. “So let me get ‘dis straight. You gon’ rob the bank wearing that Darth Vader costume ‘dere an you gonna use the force to git them people ta give you money?”
Cormac shrugged. “Yea, pretty much.”
“Well hump my leg and call me Peaches! You think I can dress up an join ya?” Tommy pulled a flask from his back pocket and took a swig. He passed it to Cormac’s waiting hand.
“You can be that golden robot or-”
“I’m gon’ dress up as Darth Vader, poo poo yea!”
“You can do that too, I guess.” Cormac coughed after taking a swig from the flask.
“Easy man. My dealer put a little extra something in that. You drank half that flask at the party and the last thing I remember before passing out is you climbing the roof.”
Florida Men Tried Robbing Bank Dressed As Darth Vader
|# ? Dec 21, 2015 06:34|
Thanks for the crits, pilgrim!
|# ? Dec 21, 2015 08:33|
Thank you for the crits, Echo Cian.
|# ? Dec 21, 2015 10:54|
christmas is ruined
|# ? Dec 21, 2015 21:47|
slow judging, bad judging, christmas is ruined
|# ? Dec 21, 2015 21:48|
Christmas is Ruined
|# ? Dec 21, 2015 21:49|
Christmas is Ruined
Florida Santa fucks chimney.
|# ? Dec 21, 2015 22:26|
Christmas is Ruined
Went to see Daddy's Home.
|# ? Dec 21, 2015 23:14|
Part 3 of Crits for Week #173 - Pilgrim's Progress
I didn't get any coffee yesterday morning, so have some crits from then.
The Last Story We Have Together
The ellipses in this one weren't necessary; that's how one sided dialogue is handled in games, but you don't have to do that in fiction because there are no reaction shots. The judging featured some confusion about the mechanism by which stories were lost and why that was strictly necessary. I interpreted it as the magical giver losing parts of themselves with each tale told, and the apprentice flung the rock because she felt petulant and disliked what the master storyteller told her (during the reminiscence). So far, I enjoyed this one the most of Bro's stories. I like stories about stories and stories about secrets. There is something here that deserves more polish.
This story struggled with inconsistent tone, poorly punctuated dialogue, and a muddled ending.
Faith starts out humorous, but then suddenly jumps tracks to somber in the second to last scene. Abrupt tone shifts can give your reader emotional whiplash. Changing tone (much like tense) requires some thoughtfulness. First you need to know what you want to accomplish, then you need to understand whether that tone shift will get you there. The stakes didn't go up in the story because the trials seemed like jokes and we have no idea how the icon was broken. Did Miriam break it? Was it like that when she got there? Why does its integrity matter? What did leaving her symbol behind mean?
Some editing would have helped tighten up the rather sloppy prose and grammar (there's a cringeworthy "for which [...] for" sentence in the ending), but the tone and trajectory can only be fixed with some serious thought about what you wanted to tell us. The conflict was mostly a wet paaaarp and the resolution was an already deflated whoopie cushion. 4/10 only because I liked Legends of the Hidden Temple and the silly trials reminded me of the show. Volcanoes are also cool. Consider revising.
Another neat setting this week. We all agreed it had some interesting ideas going on, but we were also dissatisfied with how you chose to resolve Charles' (and his people's) plight. In the end, he succumbs to despair and suddenly the revenant lets everyone go. Why? The Faustian pact here just doesn't seem to have the right level of consequence - the Pilgrim seems to revive everyone he ate at the end, and the Unpainted Lands are rejuvenated (or perhaps finally reified, or whatever), and the only cost is Charles' mental health. I liked that the Pilgrim's footsteps actually brought life to the land; it's a more interesting decision than smiting the poo poo out of the goodly earth such that his footsteps are glowing coals and nothing grows in his path ever again. Still, I'm left wondering... Did you run out of word count and/or time? An interesting mess, but still a mess. Please revise.
I thought you weren't going to submit this week, so I was pleasantly surprised to see a story freshly inked in blood straight from the desk of H. R. M. the Blood Queen. I wasn't sure how I felt about the story, though. I mean, you've always got me hooked with Vikings and the undead (?) and whiny sea spirits, but the execution rambled. We had a lot of that during Pilgrim's Progress -- interesting ideas married to rushed writing. The POV switches did a disservice to Anuun, who was set up as the protagonist. Anuun basically disappears after the third scene. We never know what his reaction is to Sedna fulfilling her promise to bring him a wife. Did Sedna reincarnate into Sveinn's mother's body? Or did she just reinvigorate the dead flesh with the mother's soul? What's happening there? We get a new named Viking, who initiates the boss battle cut scene. The story cuts off right at the most interesting part. I'd read more if there were more. Looking away from the resolution is unsatisfying, though, so I was left with 5/10
A strange week to try out entering a serial. Of course Kaishai has perfect recall of every story. It might have worked if Lies could stand up on its own. Unfortunately, without some context provided by your other spaceship/gynoid x space merc stories, it can't. We mulled over whether this series can be arranged chronologically or if we should understand this as a story rewritten several times. Why the Terminator names?
|# ? Dec 21, 2015 23:27|
|# ? Dec 22, 2015 02:52|
Since judgment won't be up for a bit, why don't you sit back with the soothing sounds of neckbeards rustling against microphones? I'm talking, of course, about another recap!
We're rapidly catching up with the current weeks of TD, so you can look forward to more current and topical recaps in the new year. It's been a lot of fun talking about you guys, and I can only hope you like being talked about? Episodes are currently running a bit longer than I'd like, because we're covering two weeks at a time as we play catchup.
Anyway, this time we covered Week 169 (Thunderdome o'Bedlam) and Week 170 (Cities and Kaiju).
Among other things, we discuss the different approaches to accent/dialect that Obliterati and Crabrock took in Bedlam week, the DMs and losses, and why some prompts seem to inspire lots and lots of unlikeable characters. This episode particularly special for me because we get to talk about my shameful loss in Kaiju week. Lattecopters! We have a chat about losing: what it means, what you can do about it, and what the "correct" attitude toward a loss (or any rejection) is.
All stories are in the archive if you'd like to follow along.
Continuous thank yous to Kaishai, Djeser, and (somewhat dubiously) Ironic Twist
|# ? Dec 22, 2015 06:29|
Thanks for the crits!
|# ? Dec 22, 2015 07:38|
Judgement, But Not The One You're Looking For
Surreptumble Muffinmouse Cockfight/Dick-Measuring Contest/Longfellow Admiration Society/Ad Nauseam
Two strong stories enter the dome here, each with different strengths and weaknesses. On the one hand, we have Surrepticious Muffin's serious meditation on depression and the medicated life. While it's addressed to a penis, that fact isn't quite as central to the story as it could be. There's also some confused extended metaphoring going on where birds are both good and bad, sometimes taking the place of the traditional/cliched Black Dogs and sometimes being more normal and literal and a part of the good things being medicated allows, which is more than odd. Any given time when the story mentions birds it has to decide if it's talking about the good ones or the bad ones, get that across to the reader, and that hurts the piece's flow.
And on the other hand, we have Fumblemouse's dick-measuring contest that turns literal, with over-the-top dialog from a pair of writer/critics that ends with a faux castration. Now, it's certainly an entertaining piece, even if it feels more like an episode or opening chapter than a complete story. It doesn't really resolve anything, including the basic question of whether the reader should be rooting for or against the narrator. But, more to the point, you're never going to convince me that it's anything other than comedy. At least not 'hur, hur, dicks' level juvenile comedy , but yeah, everyone is still too over-the-top, and if the central conflict is so unimportant to the crowd that they'll agree to settling it this way, you can't get close to a dramatic core.
So the victory goes to Muffin for actually reading the prompt.
|# ? Dec 22, 2015 09:07|
WEEK 176 JUDGEPOST
To paraphrase John Oliver: OK, Thunderdome, just because Florida is shaped like some combination of a gun and a dick, doesn’t mean you have to write that way.
There were a lot of guns this week. There were a lot of dicks this week. This is expected for Florida week. But one story in particular towered fully erect and loaded above the others, and truly embraced the gleeful misanthropy of Florida. That story was Dare To Be You, by crabrock, which earns our first Honorable Mention. To me, this story was the most truly Florida story of the week: feel free to take that however you please, but for this judge at least it’s a compliment.
Our next Honorable Mention goes to Broenheim, for What You Learn When You’re Robbing a Store as Darth Vader. This story took a little while to get to where it was going, but ended up in an exploration of the motivating spark responsible for Florida Men and Women, and ends on the uplifting note that, deep down, there’s a little Florida Man and/or Woman inside each and every one of us.
This brings us to our Winner, which was chosen by consensus: every judge had Every Rising Tide by Grizzled Patriarch in their top pile, earning it the sole dry patch of turf above an angry sea of aquatic tigers. This piece was well written, incorporated its absurdist elements seamlessly, and had a strong narrative flow. All of the judges thoroughly enjoyed this story, and it’s well deserving of the top spot this week.
But: for every Florida man hopped up on bath salts who stops his truck in the middle of the interstate to wrassle a gator, there are those Florida people whose actions are merely disappointing and predictable, Florida people who are content to merely commit basic and tired crimes against their fellow humans and literature, and this brings us to our Lo…. wait! What’s that?
It’s a Floridian Christmas Miracle!
This week, as an early Xmas present for the ‘Dome, the judges give the gift of No Negative Mentions. Across the board, the entries this week, despite their various flaws, never failed to at least bring a smile to these judges faces, or at the very least an incredulous shake of the head. Perhaps it’s the season, perhaps it has something to do with the fact that some Florida people (well, people located in Florida, at least) just managed to land a rocket safely at Cape Canaveral: well, in Thunderdome they say, the judges’ small hearts grew three sizes this week.
Detailed crits to follow. The throne is yours, Grizzled Patriarch.
|# ? Dec 22, 2015 13:34|
Child’s Play Brawl Entry
My family’s in the parlor, sitting perfectly still. They will not speak, and they seldom move except for their abdomens which inflate and deflate as they take shallow breaths. I walk into the parlor and set out tea. I know it’ll go untouched, but I am a creature of habit.
I sing to myself. It’s a soft, simple melody. I dust off father’s shoulders and clean the crusted matter from mother’s face. Yesterday’s tea tray in hand, I make my way to the kitchen to cook breakfast and wash the dishes.
We’re running out of flour. I use the last of it to make crepes, and write a reminder to go shopping later on that day. I doll marmalade onto the crepes and top it with cream. Walking into the living room, I place the food in front of mother and father. Sister’s not there anymore. Poor girl, she was such a sunny child.
I clean the stain from the carpet. He’s sitting in the far corner, perfectly still. If you walked into the room, you’d think he’s a statue. You’d also think that the creator of the statue was quite a flamboyant individual, for it would take a truly queer person to sculpt a three-legged, pig-snouted gargoyle and think of it as fine art.
He was sitting with the family yesterday. I sigh and go back to the kitchen. He’ll be sitting with them again this evening.
He’s been playing this game for two days. I’m still not sure why he didn’t force me to play. The scene of the beast explaining the rules is still fresh in my mind, and I will recount it to you.
He crept in through the window. Father, mother, and sister recoiled at the loathsome thing. I dropped my book and went pale in my chair. Samuel, my brother, gave it a wide eyed stare. The creature cast a dirty glare at the family and then spoke in a deep voice befitting of Satan himself.
“This game is simple, a child could play it. Simply put, don’t move. Don’t speak. Stay in your spots.”
He then walked up to me. He put a cold, stoney hand on my wrist. He gave me a lopsided, fanged smile.
“Except you. You will tend to the players.”
With that, he sat himself beside my father and the game began.
Samuel, being the youngest and most bullheaded member of the family, broke first. He scratched his nose when he thought the creature wasn’t watching him, and that was it for him. The creature pounced and mauled him. Crimson splattered the walls and intestines flew into the air. A terrible crunching noise filled the room. All that remained of poor Samuel was a stain of blood and viscera.
Recalling it has brought me to tears. I can’t help but weep. Samuel picked me flowers every summer. I still hold a dear memory of holding a branch of honeysuckle he plucked from behind a garden wall. The deliciously sweet smell fills my nostrils as if I’m still clutching those golden petals.
The voice of the creature fills the room.
“The game is over. You’ve done outstandingly well.”
I rush into the parlor and embrace mother and father. They’re terrified, but I can feel the relief in the air. A stoney hand grabs my wrist.
“And now, since I’m being so kind in ending the game, I would like a prize.”
I quiver and brace for my consumption. His puckers his lips into a fat blob of flesh upon his face and kisses my hand.
“Such a beautiful lady, you shall be mine.”
“You’re not going to…?”
“Devour you? Of course not. I shall take you for my beautiful wife.”
With that, he hoists me over his shoulder and begins to walk off. I can feel his awkward, tripodal gate beneath me. It makes my stomach uneasy. I dangle my legs in the air and pound on his chest in protest. He laughs.
“Such a simple, delicate woman.”
A pair of bat wings rip through the creature’s flesh. He groans in an almost sexual manner as the wings unfold, splashing droplets of blood onto the walls. I scream as he zooms into the air, still clutched in his impeccably strong grasp.
I remember the time Samuel defended me from an impossibly large dog as a child. Although the dog might have simply been a large dog, to a four year old it was an impossibility that a dog could be so gigantic. Samuel threw himself at the dog and wrestled it to the ground with all his strength. He squeezed at its neck and we fled the deranged animal.
Now here I am, in the clutch of what may as well be a deranged animal. We land in a cavern far from the safety of my parent’s home. The creature grabs my arm and licks it up and down with a slimey tongue that’s as cold as ice. I shiver. He lays me down on a mattress made of moss, and I know at once what he wants.
He crawls atop me, lust and malice in his flaming eyes. Those eyes are the only part of him that radiates warmth, but it is not a comfortable warmth. No, it is a dreadful, almost painful heat that rots one’s soul. He blows his breath on my neck, and it stinks of brimstone.
Something stops the creature. He contorts, and flails about with an unseen adversary. The invisible savior clenches the creature’s neck, and I know immediately who is protecting me. I sprint out of the cavern, into the light of a forest. It will be a long way home, but I have him protecting me.
|# ? Dec 22, 2015 15:11|
California Man reads 14 stories, considers whether jumping off 14-story building would be less painful
So, I frequently spend more time than I might ought to on picking a title for my story, sometimes dropping an allusion or reference or pun that sails right over the heads of the judges or falls flat in front of them or whatever. I've noticed that it's not just mine, but titles generally don't get much attention in crits unless they're horrible, so this time around I'm going to specifically talk about titles. They are, in addition to the first couple of lines, part of what is going to 'sell' your story to a reader not obligated to read it, after all.
This particular Santa made a Naughty list along with the Nice one. So even though nobody really gets just a single lump of coal in their stockings, you should know who you were. That said, it's all relative and this was a fairly good week. Even the worst stories from this week could have settled into the mushy middle of a lot of other weeks.
ZeBourgeosie: The Alpha Man
Title evokes the Alpha Male concept, which is mostly self-parody these days, as well as 'The Omega Man'. Let's see if either of those go anywhere. (Ed: no, they don't. Title doesn't do anything for the story.)
The opening is a little bit repetitive, with each new sentence adding too little to the picture.
First question: what about senility, both from the ravages of time on the brain and the practical limits to a brain's ability to store memories? Shouldn't he and the doctors have thought about that?
Head-hopping, overly tell-y. And after all that happens, the strongest part of this situation is the horror of what's happened to Karen, so, once you've let yourself not use a tight 3rd-person limited point of view, you've wasted the opportunity to give us any idea of what she's now thinking.
On my Naughty List.
Klapman: A Day at the Meat Shack
A simple, utilitarian title, somewhat evocative. Doesn't exactly fit the story; this isn't just any day.
The opening line is okay, a bit awkward. Awkward and unclear wording follows in the first paragraph. ('extra' and 'to spare' are redundant, for one thing.)
A lot of technical problems, but this is at least an entertaining story of cascading bad decisions, which is what I was looking for this week. I sort of wish it had a bit more of an ending; the prompts don't have to be punchlines.
Barely off my Naughty List
Ceighk: Night of the Goat
A well-tested title format, this, vaguely promising horror and absolutely promising a Goat.
I'ma repeat myself about semicolons not belonging in narrative prose almost all of the time, and also say that the one in your opening paragraph is also just plain wrong. A colon would be correct, although still clunky prose.
Also repeating myself saying head-hopping narratives are usually a bad choice for a modern audience.
Sort of a what-the-hell ending, shouldn't be this hard to figure out what happens. (Jake somehow figured out how to make Satanic deals and turned the third goat into a photographer? Guesses involving a different blackmailer need to get past Jake's handwriting: one goat sacrifices another for some reason and blackmails both Jake and Charlie? No motive for that without time travel as well.)
Was at the top of my Naughty List
crabrock: Dare to Be Yourself
A little bland, but promises to be a moral to the story. Doesn't really work as that, though.
The opening is strong (although it does serve to confuse things a bit, as to whether this guy had lion spirit possession problems before the Madness Reefer hit him), and the writing is technically fine throughout. The story, though...well, there's not much plot here, and the “and then the cops gunned him down” default ending for this week isn't impressive either. Not on either of my lists.
Jocoserious: That Furry Son of a Bitch
Now there's a strong title. Promises me a dog that's a rascal if not an out and out villain. Delivers.
The opening continues the theme. It takes a few back-and-forths to make it clear that we're dealing with a talking dog, but sure, let's run with that. A lot of dialog, but it's good dialog as far as I'm concerned, and another example of the kind of story I was looking for. Nice List.
Broenheim: What You Learn When You're Robbing a Store as Darth Vader
Another strong title. Promises some kind of moral or lesson. The story doesn't, but at least it specifically doesn't, it actively denies learning.
The opening doesn't do much that the title already didn't, though. Some awkward prose. 'Yet' is redundant with 'still' and fairly stilted. Shifting randomly between first and second person doesn't really work for me.
Feels like a deliberate attempt to ignore the 'clear motivations' part of the prompt, since there not being anything like that is the core of both the narrator and the clerk's characters here. Or maybe it's a very zen answer directly aimed at that question. Ulitmately lands in the middle.
Jagermonster: The Florida Man and the Sea
Hemingway allusion. Should I expect Hemingway-esque prose? Ernest or Shakespeare? I should expect a fish story either way.
And I can tell I'm getting one from the opener, so that's good.
Another Dialog-heavy story, unfortunately not as well-executed as the other. Too much untagged dialog, too much describing action through dialog. Picking the father's point of view is an interesting choice. This kind of story is usually done from the kid's, and I don't see that the change-up buys you much. Not on either list.
Entenzahn: Late Night Pit Stop
A title that doesn't promise all that much, neither the weakest or the strongest.
Fairly strong opening paragraph, though. Possibly a little bit overwritten, but mostly works, at least so far. Okay, so not the most here in terms of plot. Feels more like a long vignette than a short story, honestly. But the ending note strong, and the prose is effective. On my Nice list.
jon joe: Yorick
Okay, so skulls, Shakespeare, clowns, that kind of thing.
Some awkward prose here, “compared to her thoughts on”, “role will be as”, could be cleaned up with a good editing run.
You don’t care what I think because you love me. You care what I think because you want to tell yourself you’re okay. You’re using my forgiveness as your improvement
I do not buy this dialog as from a stinking drunk guy. Or really as spoken by a human being. This is forums/comment section/twitter communication.
WeLandedOnTheMoon: Labels and Liars
Generic title, promises little, just two things.
Think you mean “an angry, vocal minority” there. This one just doesn't work for me at all. How seriously people are taking the nametags feels like it's shifting all the time, the 'jokester' tag goes nowhere, and the ending sort of comes out of nowhere. (And is also the same unimaginative 'protogonist gets shot' ending that nobody can do much better than this week.)
Grizzled Patriarch: Every Rising Tide
Middling title, probably fitting enough.
Where was I? The beginning is probably the weakest part, two paragraphs that don't really contrast well enough, not giving the 'this is a serious storm' that logic wants between one dismissal of that fact and another.
Speaking of logic, I'm not sure why we have animal control officers out in this, and when they fail, nothing else until the helicopter rescue begins.
Beyond that, this is one of the better pieces of the week, definitely on my Nice List.
C7t71: The Proper Care and Feeding of Your Bobcat
Okay title, promising a Bobcat and probably a light/comedic tone. Got the one, at least.
Having both the cat and the car (used with those two words so close in appearance) 'purring' is more distracting than anything else. “his care”-proofreading needed. “horse powered car”? Like, it has a lot of them, maybe? Because anything else doesn't make any kind of sense.
Another one that misses the prompt: I don't know what this guy's motivation is at all, why he had the cat there to start with and why he wants to see this gardener so much as to be willing to be cruel to animals for each visit. On the Naughty List.
kurona_bright: Moist Cotton Hands
Interesting title, mildly evocative (but triggering to certain word aversion types), doesn't promise much tangible beyond the obvious.
The opening works reasonably well, and the prose is more or less completent. But there really isn't much to this one at all. It just takes the most boring version of the events in the prompt and throws them onto the page, not really adding much to them at all. Not bad enough for the Naughty List, but not good enough for the nice one either.
Mercedes: Marching to the beat of your own drum
Title is self-descriptive, not following usual capitalization rules and not going all lower-case either. Like Dare, the title promises to be about individualism, I guess. Doesn't deliver that all that strongly, but I guess that it does fit with the VR/distinct versions of reality business.
Not all that sure what to make of this one. Florida is a giant VR/MIB-infested region? The characters work fairly well, but there's not much for them to do, with the actual action all being in the past, an erased past, or the future. Probably wouldn't have made either list if on time.
Thranguy fucked around with this message at Dec 22, 2015 around 23:28
|# ? Dec 22, 2015 17:08|
...sometimes dropping an allusion or reference or pun that sails right over the heads of the judge
|# ? Dec 22, 2015 17:45|
Thanks for the crits, Christmasguy!
|# ? Dec 22, 2015 18:20|
Welp, I made some promises in IRC and now you all get to suffer the consequences.
Thunderdome Week CLXXVII - Sparkly Mermen 2: Electric Merman Boogaloo
It's that time of year again, and last week's judges made the terrible mistake of handing me the reins. I like to keep things nice and simple during the hectic holiday season, so here's the deal:
You guys are going to mosey on over to the December Diamonds website and choose from their dizzying assortment of glistening, six-packed merman tree ornaments. I'm only expecting you to choose one, but if you want more, be my guest!
Then, you are going to write me and my future co-judges a story inspired by that ornament. I'm not gonna be super strict here, I just want to see some element of your pick make it into the story. Be as loose or literal as you'd like. In fact, you don't even have to write about mermen (though it certainly can't hurt!).
I know most of you are going to be spending time with friends and family, so I don't want everyone stressing out. Take it easy, and most of all, have fun with the prompt.
Sign Up By: 11:59 PM EST, Friday, December 25 (I'll be a little flexible here)
Submissions Close: 11:59 PM EST, Sunday, December 27
I'm also tossing in a preemptive Word Bounty!
Anyone who crits a story from any previous week gets an extra 200 words. Ideally you should look for a story that hasn't gotten a lot of attention and whose author is still floating around. Doesn't need to be a huge, in-depth write-up, but please do more than 1 or 2 lines.
1. Grizzled Patriarch
2. spectres of autism
Kaishai (+200 words)
Broenheim (+200 words)
Ceighk (+200 words)
mistaya (+200 words)
Entenzahn (Flash Rule: Heartfelt, No Snark)
Grizzled Patriarch fucked around with this message at Dec 27, 2015 around 16:43
|# ? Dec 22, 2015 19:09|
My mermen of choice:
Kaishai fucked around with this message at Dec 22, 2015 around 23:24
|# ? Dec 22, 2015 19:10|
|# ? Dec 22, 2015 19:12|
Im in and also here's my word bounty that I already did
Random ZeBourgeoisie Crit for Florida Week because, well, read the story and find out
(Alternative Title - Crit longer than the story I did this week)
I still wonder if you’re sincere about all of this. One day, you’re writing in order to reach the top and I think “maybe this guy just doesn’t quite know what makes a story work.” So then you write butterman, and I laugh at it and say this is funny, because it is, but for all the wrong reasons. This story today doesn’t quite reach the peaks of Butterman, but it has the same innocuous, if rather generic, opening. From the start I’m not expecting much. Guy is afraid of death and decides to try become the bionic man to stay immortal, which is ok because there’s a desire, motivation, and the character does it. Then, when he becomes a bionic man, his wife starts to dislike. Now, this COULD be interesting, but the transition of the main character into this unlikable dickhead comes absolutely out of nowhere. He’s an rear end in a top hat because……………… That’s the answer. You just made him that. Worst of all, I don’t even really know what your character was before, but if there was one thing I knew about him before was that he probably loved his wife and wanted to live for her. So, when he becomes immortal, he becomes an rear end. THAT DOESNT loving MAKE ANY SENSE WHATSOEVER. Ok, ok, we’re not even at the bad part, but we still have more to talk about. The guy shoots himself for some loving reason. Idk why. Why does he need to constantly show off he’s not dying? Maybe it has to do with him wanting to laugh at death, but those lines are tossed in and never feel like they’re incredibly important to the story. Next up is that you shift perspective. One second we’re in the head of the main character, the next in the wife, and you mix and match them that it becomes incoherent and hard to tell who is the main character and who I should be empathizing with. Also, since you are using an omminicent narrator (who is generally viewed as all-knowing) and give us lines like “It was simply to demonstrate how durable his new body was, he told her.” (which btw, that part before he told her should have quotation marks) it becomes difficult for me to know if the guy truly means it, or if there’s some ulterior motive to. I just, simply, cannot tell. That is never good.
Now, I’m a bit of a prude, I will readily admit this. This sex scene is one of the worst things in the world. What’s really weird is that she just does this and we never get into the head of any character in this section. We’re all just given the facts, which makes it wonder what is the point of this whole section supposed to mean. She doesn’t HAVE to be sucking his cock in order to get shot in the head, now does she? So, why are we having a sex scene? It is given so blankly, so flatly, with 0 emotion, that I don’t get it. I just… don’t. Is it sex just to have sex. BUT WAIT, this feels like it’s probably surprise sex. Which, you know, is super hosed and not only that, but also completely unnecessary. What does this possible surprise sex/sex scene have to do with the rest of your story. Your character is a dickhead, you don’t need to hammer that nail further. Then, he shoots himself while she’s doing this because…………………………………………………………………… ????????????????????????????? The only interpretation of this that makes any sense to me is that this is somehow his way of getting off. WHICH IS HORRIBLY AND INCONCEIVABLY STUPID.
Ok, ok, I have to calm down. We’re passed the worst part, thankfully. So, ok, the guy shoots himself then accidentally kills/injure/whatever his wife. Now, out of the loving blue, this guy cares. WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? YOU WRITE THIS GUY AS A HUGE loving DICKHEAD WHO BASICALLY RAPES HIS WIFE AND THEN NOW IM SUPPOSED TO SYMPATHIZE WITH THIS GUY? IM SOMEHOW SUPPOSED TO BELIEVE THAT HE LOVES HIS WIFE AFTER ALL THIS BULLSHIT? NO. Do you lack any understanding of how people act? Do you like any understanding how empathy loving works? Do you lack any cognitive ability? You can’t write a guy is acting completely like a dick the entire time and expect me to actually want to see him do well in life. Ask yourself while reading through this story again, which I’d advise you to do btw, you ask yourself some key loving questions.
1 - Is there a reason for this story? Is there something this story does that needs to be answered?
2 - Is everything in here necessary? If I were to chop something away, would my story still work? If you can answer yes, then chop, chop, chop away.
3 - Is there something to like? Is there someone, a character, who my reader is going to want to see succeed or continue on with their life? Are they doing things in order to reach some kind of goal?
4 - Am I doing things because they add to the story, or is to add some edginess or grit or darkness or equally dumb bullshit that, at the end of the day, I really don’t need in the story?
gently caress man, I really, really, sincerely, believe you can do better. Idk what it is, but there’s one week where I think “ok, ok, this story isn’t terrible, not great, but he’s getting somewhere.” Then you do this and I’m just left baffled. I don’t want you’re trying to pull here, some kind of Benny-esque charade, or a “so bad it’s good” gimmick, or something equally as stupid, but whatever it is, just stop. If you’re not trying to get better, then stop wasting our time. Because someone who has written this much TD should not keep doing these things over and over again because at some point you have to realize, with the most DMs and closing in on the most loses, that what you’re doing is not working. Please, show me some sincerity, something that shows me you’re not trying to make your entire TD career a huge joke. Because, right now, I’m not sure if you are, and if you are, I’m not laughing anymore. The joke is old.
A part of me regrets my vocal love for butterman. Butterman is funny, but for all the wrong reasons, and I fear that you don’t understand that I love it because it’s bad. It’s really really bad, but it seems saying that your garbage is hilarious may have given you the wrong impression. Butterman, Osytermen, all of those stories in irc people are posting, ARE NOT GOOD. I’m not sure, I’m really not sure, if you understand this. You, to me, seem to be really proud of butterman. You shouldn’t be. It’s a shameful, lovely story that feels oddly fetishisitic and is downright a horrible, awful story. I just, I really just do not understand what the gently caress’s your problem. Are you trying? Are you really really trying? Because, based off of everything, off of everything everyone has said in crits, after all this time, I have seen almost zero improvement. So, I have to ask, wtf is your problem?
|# ? Dec 22, 2015 19:27|
|# ? Dec 22, 2015 19:28|
|# ? Dec 22, 2015 19:38|
|# ? Dec 22, 2015 20:21|
In with the stipulation that my merman ornament must be assigned to me by Kaishai even though she is another contestant and not a judge.
|# ? Dec 22, 2015 20:25|
So who lost last week
Or were they all little special cuddlepuppies in the fluffydome
dreadmojo fucked around with this message at Dec 22, 2015 around 21:46
|# ? Dec 22, 2015 20:59|
|# ? Dec 22, 2015 21:21|
In with the stipulation that my merman ornament must be assigned to me by Kaishai even though she is another contestant and not a judge.
My Christmas gift to you is the baddest seafood I could find.
Ho ho ho!
|# ? Dec 22, 2015 21:29|
you've defiled the dome with your caring and sharing and your no losering and your everything is adorable and your tinky plinky christmas music
there must be blood
800 words grinchbrawl, who will judge
|# ? Dec 22, 2015 21:30|
|# ? Nov 20, 2018 17:28|
sebmojo vs. Benny Profane: O Christmas Tree
You must write stories set in or on Christmas trees. Your characters may be small humans, normal-size humans in a gargantuan world, ornaments, tinsel, vermin--whatever your three-sizes-too-small hearts desire, but they must be in Christmas trees decked out with colored lights aplenty. Tell me about their holiday adventures in 1,000 words or fewer.
Deadline: Thursday, December 31, 11:59pm USA Central Standard Time. Do not expect mercy.
|# ? Dec 22, 2015 21:47|